NEW YORK — Frank Huang, the first violinist and concertmaster for the New York Philharmonic, is once again playing before a full crowd, at Alice Tully Hall, after 556 days.

“That kind of feeling, when we walk out and see a full audience, it’s very inspirational to us because we want to share the music with as many people as possible,” Huang said on Friday evening.

What You Need To Know

  • The New York Philharmonic on Friday had its first indoor performance before an audience in 556 days

  • Most musicians had to wear masks while performing

  • It was a sold out show at Alice Tully Hall, and the audience had to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philharmonic has kept the music playing outdoors, even performing from a pickup truck.

But now the Philharmonic is back indoors, with a few changes. Most musicians will wear masks on stage. But what won’t change, Huang says, is “the familiarity of being on stage and performing for an audience, it is going to be there. You know, we feel very comfortable playing together as a group.”

The New York Philharmonic playing at Alice Tully Hall on Sept. 17, 2021. NY1/Dan Rivoli.

The chief executive at the Philharmonic, Deborah Borda, said the time between this and its last performance was the longest intermission she’s known.

“It took the support of our board, it took the support of our community and it took our great musicians because they really had to persevere through this,” Borda said.

For the audience, they had to wear masks through the performance and show proof of vaccination, a small price for fans eager to hear the Philharmonic play once more.

“Goosebumps,” Violet Eagan said as she entered the hall.

“We’re very glad to be here and very glad we can be here,” her husband Chris Eagan said, “given COVID and everybody in New York, what they went through. This is a great way to celebrate, hopefully, moving on.”

“It’s the most compelling theater in the city, as far as I’m concerned,” said Larry Platkin, an audience member.

“We’re happy some normalcy is back,” his wife Judy Platkin said.


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